“In life no house, no home my Lord on earth might have; in death no friendly tomb but what a stranger gave. What may I say? Heav’n was His home but mine the tomb wherein He lay.” “My Song Is Love Unknown” Verse 6 (LSB 430)
During this Lenten season, we are again reminded about how blessed we are to have a Savior who left His heavenly home to sacrifice Himself on our behalf. Throughout Christ’s ministry on earth, we are given the perfect example of generosity and compassion. Forsaking all earthly comforts, Christ ministered to sinners, the sick, and the poor – caring for the spiritual and bodily needs of His neighbors. His ministry ultimately culminated in His crucifixion and resurrection – bestowing the forgiveness of sins and salvation to our entire race.
Following Christ’s example of caring for the bodily and spiritual needs of our neighbors, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations engage every day in serving us and our communities with Word and Sacrament ministry and acts of mercy (diakonia). In furtherance of these efforts, Lutheran Housing Support (LHS) provides more than 30 LCMS-led community development initiatives with thousands of hours of free technical assistance and access to capital. Our work supports our congregations’ efforts to care for the needs of their neighbors and surrounding communities – all while providing Word and Sacrament ministry that plants and nourishes faith in our Savior.
When congregations care for the bodily needs of their communities, it opens the door to share the Gospel. Throughout the year, LHS and our partners reach outward to our communities, not only to provide mercy (through community development), but also to tell our neighbors of the salvation that has been won for us by Christ our Lord.
We need your prayers and support to continue this important work in the coming years. All of the community development efforts that LCMS congregations, districts, and Recognized Service Organizations perform in the field, with the assistance of LHS, are sustained entirely through the prayers, time, talent, and financial commitment of donors like you. Please support the mercy work of neighborhood revitalization around urban and rural altars by keeping LHS in your prayers and by making a gift to support initiatives like Emmanuel Lutheran Church’s program in Fort Wayne.
James Kolkman served as a paratrooper in World War II and, for some 30 years, did his best to maintain the two-story Fort Wayne home he shares with his wife, Mae. But in recent years, the house needed major repairs beyond the couple’s modest means, to the extent that Mae said she felt the wind blow through the living room.
Today, the Kolkman home in the city’s West Central neighborhood sports new energy-efficient windows, vinyl siding and other dramatic improvements, one result of an ambitious project to help aging homeowners, launched in 2012 by Emmanuel Lutheran Church and Lutheran Housing Support. Funded with a $49,500 grant from LHS and its donors, the local congregation of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne served four elderly/disabled households with limited income. The grant made it possible to perform home repairs which addressed health and safety related items, allowing these homeowners to stay in their home and age in place.
Tackling cleanup and repairs in the church’s neighborhood is a goal of Emmanuel’s outreach ministry. Assistance from Lutheran Housing Support – the Synod’s housing and community revitalization arm – “allowed us to kick that help up a notch and do things we could never do on our own,” said the Rev. Thomas Eggold, Emmanuel’s senior pastor.
To remain connected to our projects or to learn how your local congregation can become engaged in community development efforts, please visit www.nationalhousingsupport.org. Your gifts and prayers are greatly appreciated and are integral to making a difference in the communities that we serve. God’s blessings to you during this Lenten season.
Nicole Ridley, Chief Executive
Lutheran Housing Support